Save the Midway!
A Natural Treasure on the National Register
We are concerned citizens working to save the Midway Plaisance from development.
The City of Chicago and the Obama Foundation intend to build a 2-story above-ground parking garage and outdoor bus staging area on the Midway Plaisance east of the Metra tracks.
We urge you to unite against this appropriation of public space. Our concerns are listed below. Please share your voice by signing a virtual postcard.
It is a public park that should not be given over to private development.
The Midway Plaisance is on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is an integral part of the design of Frederick Law Olmsted for the South Park System—the Midway Plaisance is the connecting esplanade between Jackson Park and Washington Park.
Allowing this development would set a precedent for other public lands to be subsumed.
In addition to the loss of green space, there will be increased traffic, idling buses, and air, noise, and light pollution.
It is imperative to preserve natural spaces that take into account bird migratory patterns, wetland areas, existing flora and fauna—and in accordance to Olmsted's vision, ensure that parks are the restful, restorative, reposeful areas that are necessary to escape urban stresses.
Planting grass on the garage roof or sloping sides does not preserve the land as a free and open park.
"As a Founder and former National Co-Chair of the National Association for Olmsted Parks , I strongly urge former President Obama to honor his own environmental legacy and reconsider the heinous destruction of one of the finest examples of Frederick Law Olmsted's work.
The Midway belongs not only to the people of Chicago but also to the people of the nation. It is part of the historic fabric of public open spaces of which we are all stewards.
SAVE THE MIDWAY"
— Betsy Shure Gross
“From a lifetime of experience with Jackson and Washington Parks, I know how vital parks are to a big city that does not have enough park space. I also know how prone public officials are to use park land for schools, convention halls, parking lots... because park land costs nothing and can be taken. The first taking of a park land site for a nonpark purpose is usually followed by expansion. We soon hear:
'We need more space for exhibitions.'
'We need space for an electrical installation.'
'We definitely need a parking lot.'
And the original taking expands until, like the proverbial camel, it upsets the whole plan for park use.”
— Leon Despres, Chicago 5th Ward Alderman, 1955 to 1975
Challenging the Daley Machine